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The Contender…

July 23, 2014

Bill Rittner (Hardware City Tools) recently made a knob and tote set out of holly for Catharine Kennedy (Custom Engraving by Catharine Kennedy). Bill had procured enough of the wood to make a second set. Being one who loves customized and personalized tools in my shop, I saw an opportunity to upgrade one of my planes with something pretty special, so I took a bit of money out of my woodworking funds and purchased it.

It almost looks a bit like unicorn horn...

It almost looks a bit like unicorn horn…

The idea was to figure out what plane I wanted to put it on and then have Catharine do some engraving on it, as well. Unfortunately, for various reasons, I had trouble deciding what plane I wanted to upgrade. My go-to smoothing plane has a cracked cheek that might not do well with being engraved on, my jointer plane would be quite costly to engrave and might be a bit heavy for the holly tote (not really sure about that, but I’d rather not take the chance), and my #5, a Type 18, isn’t really a favorite of mine, though it does its job well and I haven’t found the need to replace it.

A few weeks ago, I was at an estate sale, where I happened upon an old #5c that seemed to be in good shape. I didn’t have any need for another jack plane, but they only wanted $5 for the thing, so I figured at the least I could buy it and hand it over to a needy member of the St. Louis Woodworkers Guild who was just starting to get into hand tools.

Fresh from the farm...

Fresh from the farm…

As I was once again going through my planes last night (I don’t have that many, so it doesn’t take long), my eyes rested on the new #5c. I picked it up, wondering if I might not get rid of it. A quick glance at the Woodnet Stanley Type flow chart confirmed what I’d originally thought – it was a Type 13. But after examining it more closely, I noted something odd. It was pretty much completely rust-free! It did have an interesting bronze-like patina to it and the dust left on it from years of sitting idle seemed to be caked on, somehow, but the only rust I found after dis-assembly was on the post inside the knob. That settled it; I pulled out the restoration tools and some blue gloves and went to work.

The plane broken down and the tools of the trade...

The plane broken down and the tools of the trade…

All of the small parts soaked in low-odor mineral spirits while I cleaned up the body.

Taking a bath...

Taking a bath…

The mineral spirits helped, but I didn’t see really good results until I started using an orange-based degreaser, which made me wonder if the plane hadn’t been coated with some sort of rust-preventative 80 years earlier and then sat unused ever since.

All scrubbed up for dinner...

All scrubbed up for dinner…

German auto polish helps bring out the shine...

German auto polish helps bring out the shine…

The small bits cleaned up nicely, but I was more impressed with the condition of the body…

Hidden under a layer of dirt...

Hidden under a layer of dirt…

It has close to 95% of its japanning left, even on the frog.

The power of citrus!

The power of citrus!

The tote has a little bit of sapwood on the horn, which always looks nice. I’ll hold on to these in case I need to replace them on a different plane in the future.

I'm sappy over a bit of sap wood...

I’m sappy over a bit of sap wood…

I still need to clean up the bottom a little; it doesn’t need to be flattened, but I do want to remove some of the gunk so it doesn’t drag across the wood. Before I send it off to Catharine for engraving (I need to save up a bit first), I’ll clean up the sides a bit more to make sure she has a nice canvas to work off of.

Stanley 5c Assembled 01

Stanley 5c Assembled 02

Here is the before again, followed by the after.

Before...

Before…

... and After.

… and After.

I believe my old #5 just got replaced.

Before reassembly, I took some tracings of the two sides so I can start working on engraving ideas.  I already have a few worked out, but you’ll have to wait a bit to see them. Sorry.  :)

(And now you know why it takes so long for me to get anything done in the shop. I have some sort of woodworking-based ADHD.) 

Catching Up On Some Comments…

July 23, 2014

I want to address some of the comments I’ve recently received on a few of my blog posts that were accidentally caught by the SPAM filter. I didn’t want to have to go through the whole rigmarole of moving and approving and posting replies to each comment, so I thought I’d just collect them all into one entry to make it easier. Apologies for taking so long to address your comments! Please keep them coming!

 

“That is very fascinating, You’re an excessively professional blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look ahead to seeking extra of your excellent post. Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks”

Excessively professional? Sorry about that. In the future, I will try to limit my professionalism to proper amounts. Or was that supposed to be a compliment? If so, then I’m excessively thankful!

 

“You could definitely see your skills in the work you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. All the time follow your heart.”

Thank you! I work hard to use the skills in the work that I write. Your comment reminds me of one of my favorite lines from the movie Braveheart. It was the scene where William’s dad was on his death bed – well, technically he was already dead and it was a dream sequence, so… maybe his dream bed? Or his ghost bed? Anyway, he says, “Your heart is free, William. Have the courage to follow her!” Even in death, his dad had great words of wisdom for him, just like you have for me! Don’t know if I’d call my heart a “her”, though. Not trying to be sexist or anything, but, you know, genetically speaking, I’m a guy. I assume that means all organs with my DNA sequence have the XY chromosome.

 

“A tooth (plural teeth) is a mignonne, calcified, whitish build found in the jaws (or mouths) of various vertebrates and habituated to to sever down food. Some animals, strikingly carnivores, also partake of teeth repayment for hunting or instead of defensive purposes. The roots of teeth are covered by gums. Teeth are not made of bone, but fairly of multiple tissues of varying density and hardness.”

Er… I think I was maybe talking about a saw tooth (or teeth, as it were). But thanks for playing.

 

“you’re in reality a just right webmaster. The website loading speed is incredible. It seems that you’re doing any unique trick. Moreover, The contents are masterwork. you have done a excellent process in this subject!”

You mean in my FANTASY I’m a just right webmaster. Unfortunately, I can’t take all of the credit for the blog page. In fact, I can’t take any credit for it! I use WordPress and they do almost all of the work. I can, however, take credit for my masterful content! I appreciate the kind words! Thanks for taking the time to pass them on!

 

“I’m impressed, I have to say. Actually rarely do I encounter a weblog that is both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve got hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the concern is some thing that not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. I’m pretty happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.”

Have you ever heard of Vaguebooking? If not, you should look into it. I bet you’d be AWESOME at it.

 

“In this section, we are going to look at style and some fashion tips for men that you’re going to have to adapt to so that you know how to be a male gigolo that will have his clients asking for his services time and time again. This means that they can carry this fashion whether they wear sleeveless tops or blazers, they can command attention and presence upon entering the conference room. Lopez was named Legend for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts.”

Look, just because I wear a kilt, that doesn’t mean I’m a gigolo. And does anyone call it a blazer anymore? Or is that a term you have to use when you’re wearing an ascot? I’ve considered wearing an ascot in the shop before. You know, to take the idea of the 19th Century craftsman working in his white dress shirt and slacks and carrying it over into a contemporary shop. Well, carrying it over into a 1970’s era Scooby Doo shop, maybe.

 

“An interesting discussion is worth comment. I feel that you simply must write extra on this subject, it could possibly not be a taboo topic but typically folks are not sufficient to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers”

Hmmm… I really try and steer clear of subjects that are NOT taboo. I do hate to be boring. Here’s to the next non-boring taboo blog post! Cheers!

 

“The next time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this 1. I mean, I know it was my selection to read, but I in fact thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is usually a bunch of whining about something which you could fix if you ever werent too busy looking for attention.”

Oh, wow, I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you! You are right, though, I do like attention. I’m an attention whore. Or maybe an attention gigolo (see above)? But whining? I’m not so sure that is accurate. And, to be completely honest with you, I’m not sure I like your tone! So maybe you can just… SPAM it up your spamhole, Lafleur. Nobody makes me bleed my own blood. Nobody!
P.S. I think your apostrophe key is broken or missing. Might want to look into that.

Innovative Bandsaw Dust Collection

June 30, 2014

Fancy title, innit? For the record, this is my shop and I’m doing the upgrade to my own bandsaw, but I did not come up with this idea; I’m just documenting it for posterity.

Warning: This post is picture-heavy. Not really a warning if you like pictures, I suppose…

A few months ago, a friend of mine, Dan, helped me tune up my bandsaw. The next time he saw me, he gave me a large box and told me how to use what was inside for better dust collection. I put it off for a while, but after moving the bandsaw down into the shop and using it a few times, I could see why the dust collection was necessary – when you don’t run a table saw, planer, or jointer in your shop, you can easily tell when something is spewing dust into the air. So this past weekend I set about rigging up some dust collection for my bandsaw.

The item Dan gave me was a Ridgid planer dust collector he’d picked up on clearance for $1.00. He showed me a picture of how he’d set his up and I went from there.

Dust Collection 01

Inside was just the dust collector hood, a cap for the large opening, and a threaded connector.

Dust Collection 02

I tossed the connector and cut the hood in half on the bandsaw. The half with the big opening is what I was going to use for the dust collection.

Dust Collection 04

I had to mark and remove some material to get a tighter fit. I decided to use a coping saw for this, rather than fuss with cutting oddly shaped pieces of plastic that I couldn’t get to lay flat on the bandsaw.

Dust Collection 05

Dust Collection 06

Then I needed to add an extension tab to the dust hood so I could piggyback it onto the threaded post that secures the bottom wheel cover. This was the easiest way of attaching the dust hood to the bandsaw without drilling more holes than necessary. To get the needed material, I cut out a square of plastic from the flat section of the cut-off piece.

Dust Collection 07

I held the pieces about where they should be, in relation to the threaded post, and marked my cut lines. Then I made the cuts with the coping saw.

Dust Collection 08

Dust Collection 09

After clamping the square extension in place, I lined up the dust hood and marked where they met up.

Dust Collection 10

Dust Collection 11

Holding the extension in place with double-stick tape, I marked locations for rivet holes and drilled them out with a hand drill.

Dust Collection 13

Starting the rivets from the inside of the dust hood, I snapped two into place and attached it to the bandsaw to see how I did. The fit was good, but the rivets were not mushrooming enough, probably because of the material. So I picked up some 1/8” rivet washers, tapped out the rivets with a nail punch, and tried again. After a little negotiation with a hammer, I was much happier with the result.

Dust Collection 14

Dust Collection 15

In order to use the 2” reducer necessary to hook up my Festool Dust Extractor hose, I needed to cut a hole in the included cap. I chucked a 2” Forstner bit into the drill press and it came out cleanly.

Dust Collection 16

At that point, I was able to connect everything the way it needed to be. I did use a bit of foam weatherseal tape to eliminate some of the gaps between the back side of the hood and the cast iron frame. Obviously I was not able to seal up all of the gaps, but I did what I could. Then I set it in place and tightened down the wingnut for the wheel cover.

Dust Collection 17

For a test run, I grabbed a piece of walnut I’d already marked for waste removal, turned on the dust extractor, and made a cut.

Dust Collection 18

Dust Collection 20

The dust you see on the bandsaw base is coming from the fairly large gap (1/16”) left by the lower wheel cover when it is attached. I suppose I could drill a hole in the lower cover and attach a second hose to the bandsaw for better dust collection, but… I’m not so sure I’m ready to permanently modify my bandsaw like that just yet. Maybe I will consider that in the future, though.

Compared to what it was like before (lots of dust on the table, base, lower shelf, and floor, as well as a notable amount of dust in the air), this is a huge improvement. There is minimal dust on the table and just a bit of dust on the base. There was no sawdust on the bottom shelf or the floor and the amount of dust floating in the air was significantly reduced, as well.

The total cost for this fix was maybe $10 total for the 2” reducer and the rivet washers. I guess you could add another $1 for the cost of the planer hood. Not a bad investment for a healthier shop environment.

Restoring A Traditional Backsaw With Mark Harrell

June 25, 2014

Mark Harrell, proprietor of Bad Axe Tool Works, has been working on a series of articles on how to restore a traditional backsaw.

Before and After...

Before and After…

Right now, the articles are only on FaceBook, but he is working on getting them formatted into a page on his website, www.badaxetoolworks.com, in the near future.

If you have a FaceBook account, you can check it out in his feed here:  https://www.facebook.com/BadAxeToolWorks

If you are not quite that socially pervasive, then you will have to wait for him to add it to his website. I will try and stay in the loop and get a link to you just as soon as it is done.

On my end, I chatted with the guy who gave me the Ridgid planer dust hood to convert into a dust collection system for my bandsaw. Now I have pictures and the process explained, so I should be able to get into the shop and get that made up in short order. I’ll write something up… good or bad.

Cheers,

TKW

Bandsaw Tune-Up, Part Three

June 23, 2014

In an effort to keep the number of projects on my To Do list short, I slipped into the shop this weekend and finished up the rest of my bandsaw restoration. In all honesty, it has taken so long mostly because it wasn’t possible until I received my Father’s Day present – a Kreg bandsaw fence – from my wife and son!

The gift that gives all year long...

The gift that gives all year long…

The guide rail should be set 1/16” below the miter gauge channel.

Kreg Fence 02

With an older Delta bandsaw, adding the rail couldn’t have been easier. The holes are already there and threaded; I just needed a wrench to install the bolts.

Done in a matter of seconds.

Done in a matter of seconds.

Didn’t really take any pictures of the fence assembly because it wasn’t terribly exciting, aside from the fact that I needed two hex wrenches and couldn’t find my set to save my life!  I searched all of my tool boxes and the portable tool bucket; even checked the junk drawer up in the kitchen, all to no avail.

Then when I was making a final adjustment to the rail, I happened to look through the bandsaw, just between the column and the table, and saw it sitting on top of my Festool dust extractor, not a foot away.  Oops.

Once was lost, now they're found.

Once was lost, now they’re found.

The next step was the simple matter of setting the fence to the blade and marking the Zero point for the measuring tape.

Once it was all set up, I made some te…  *sigh* Bother. Apparently I forgot to take a picture of the test cut. It was good, though. The saw has no drift at the moment, so I just had to set it up square and I was good to go. I’ll make another cut or two and take some pictures and update later tonight.

Fence installation is done!

Fence installation is done!

The total set-up time was maybe 15 minutes, if you do not count the 20 minutes I spent looking for those dang hex wrenches. It was my first experience with a Kreg product, but it could not have gone more smoothly! I might later add the micro-adjuster, but otherwise I have the bandsaw set up just about the way I want it.

It feels good to get something done so quickly!

I should try and do that more often…

EDIT: Here is a quick test cut using the fence. It was a no bind, straight cut that just took a few swipes from a heavily-set #5 to remove the bandsaw marks. I think typically I’ll be using the fence to rip box sides down. This should make the operation quick, easily repeatable, about as safe as you can get with a power tool, and convenient.

Also, I raised the guide up to add the fence and I should have dropped it back down for this cut and I didn’t.  Sorry about that. I hate photographing bad technique.

Test Cut

Getting A Handle On My Limitations

June 4, 2014

My friends on Facebook say I always take great pictures. I enjoy such comments, but it is not quite the truth. The truth is, I always take a very large number of pictures and I just post some of the few good ones.

I think, more often than not, woodworkers tend to update their blogs in much the same way. We discuss, photograph, and write about our creations, achievements, and the positive things going on in our shops and do not spend as much time going over the ideas and projects that did not work out. It is not that way because we are trying to deceive, but because we would prefer to talk about our successes rather than our failures.

This is to our detriment, however, as we can learn from mistakes. I try to learn from the mistakes of others; that way, I don’t have to make those same mistakes myself. I am happy to point out and discuss my failed woodworking attempts. I offer these in the hopes that you will offer reciprocity.

In this case, it might be better articulated as a lacking of skills, rather than a failure of process. Or maybe it is a combination of both. In any case, as hard as I tried, I was unable to properly drill the larger holes needed to handle the 3/16 alignment pins.

I only have a few power tools in my shop – a bandsaw, a drill press, and now a lathe (more on that later). The drill press is a bench-top model 15-000 from the early 1960’s. I bought it from the original owner, who kept it in fine condition. Unfortunately, it does not have the capacity to handle a 6 ½” blank along with a 5” long drill bit, so I have been trying to drill the holes by hand with a brace.

Failure 01

I did not have a problem with the 13/32″ holes, so drill bit size probably played a role. I suspect some of the other reasons for my failure are situational, as well, and that I might find it easier to drill a perfectly perpendicular hole were I a) drilling into face grain instead of end grain and b) using a brad point or self-driving bit instead of a twist bit. But the holes, by nature, must be drilled into end grain and I had a hard enough time trying to find a 17/32” twist bit; I don’t know if the other styles are even an option for that size.

Attempt after attempt, I was left with holes that were off-center and just off of perpendicular in the blanks. The result was either a poorly fit or misaligned handle or I would expose the other end of the hole when I was cutting the taper in the blank.

Failure 02

And so, after wasting about six blanks and gaining some incredibly sore shoulder muscles, I put the larger drawbore pin project on hold, just until this weekend when I can get access to a floor-model drill press. I figured while I had the use of the drill press I would go ahead and drill out a few extra blanks and make some additional drawbore pins. Maybe I’ll give away a pair through the blog. Or make a pair for Finley to use when he’s older. Or both.

The other day, I spent some time in the shop with my protégé. (For the record, he suggested wearing his kilt all on his own. Also for the record, I did tear up a bit.) He wanted to make some boats. I showed him how to use the coping saw and we cut a piece of pine into a boat shape.

WoodworkingKilt01

Then we cut up some small blocks of pine, walnut, mahogany, and cherry to use for cabins and such. He went through the box of wood trash I keep near the shop door and grabbed a few additional pieces with shapes he liked. For speed and simplicity, we glued everything together with hot glue. As you can see in the above picture, a piece of tapered and chamfered walnut from one of the failed attempts at the drawbore pin handle got repurposed into the cabin for the large boat.

WoodworkingKilt03

I couldn’t get him to not make a goofy face. He was very excited to be down in the shop with me, if you can’t tell.

Last night I started prepping a few more handle blanks.

WARNING: If you have any love for the Stanley transitional planes, you might want to stop reading this entry now.

A while back, I saw an eBay listing for a Stanley transitional jointer plane. It was missing the blade and lever cap and the casting was broken. But it had a starting bid of $1.99 with no reserve and I had an idea, so I bid on it. If you can imagine, I was not shocked when I won the plane for $1.99 (plus shipping). When I made my payment, I asked the seller if they would remove the metal parts and just send me the wood, because all I really wanted was the beautiful quartersawn beech I knew was hidden under a layer of filth and dirt.

QS Beech 01

I figured it would come in handy for making repairs to saw totes. As I was looking through my stash of wood last night, I spied this hunk of wood and realized it would also make for fine drawbore pin handles…

QS Beech 04

QS Beech 05

I left it as an oversized block for the time being and gathered up a few other choice pieces of wood.

QS Beech 06

The two pieces of wood with the white lines along the faces are teak. Back in 2003, I attended a conference for the Society of Technical Communicators (Oh, it was as exciting as it sounds) in Baltimore, MD. I had a chance to visit relatives in Silver Springs and while I was walking down one of the many streets of shops there, I came across a box of wood next to an open door. It was a woodworker’s shop and he made teak patio furniture. The wood in the box was chair and table legs with blown mortises or broken tenons and free for the taking. I had no idea what I would do with it at the time, but I grabbed the largest chair leg I thought I could fit into my suitcase. It sat in my shop for 11 years until I came across it last night and figured a pair of teak handled drawbore pins might be nice. The white lines indicate the two non-tapered faces, which was useful information when I had it on the miter box and likewise will be useful when I’m cutting them down to proper dimensions on the band saw.

The figured mahogany is… well, it’s just some figured mahogany I picked up somewhere.  Happens to be big enough for handle blanks and I like figured mahogany, so I thought I’d give it a try. I might root around for a few other pieces of wood this evening.

QS Beech 07

Anyone with keen eye sight AND amazing powers of observation might notice I have located another piece of heart pine beam that is long enough for the bench top (second from the right)! So I don’t need to make any fancy transitions or explanations as to why my bench top has a weird shape. This makes thekiltedwoodworker very happy.

Getting A Handle On Interruptions

May 23, 2014

A common occurrence for me is that my current project gets a temporary reprieve because there are other, smaller projects I need to finish in order to make the tools I need for the current one. In this case, I want to drawbore the leg joinery for the two workbenches, so I need some drawbore pins.

I could quite easily pick up some drawbore pins through an antique tool dealer or from Blue Spruce Tool Works, but buying two sets of them would be expensive. Plus, I’ve wanted to make drawbore pins ever since I read the article about them in one of the first issues of Woodworking magazine. So I decided to give it a go at making them by hand.

I went to Sears and picked up two pairs of drift pins (about $15 a pair). I prepped them with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the black coating and quickly roughed some 6/4 walnut to size (1 ¼” x 1 ¼” x 6”) on the newly tuned up bandsaw. The holes you need to bore into the blanks are a bit unusual – 13/32 for the smaller drift pins and 17/32 for the larger ones. I have a 13/32 bit and picked up a 17/32 bit from a friend. Unfortunately, the latter seemed to have some runout when I chucked it into the drill press, so I’m still trying to figure out what to do for the larger set.

In the meantime, I decided to go forward with the smaller ones.

As much as I love my old 1960’s Rockwell drill press, it is a bench model and I don’t have enough space under it for 6” of handle blank and another 4” of drill bit. So I made a guide block and bored the hole with a brace. This also gives me a chance to use some of my awesome antique C-clamps, which have acme threads and great details that draw me to them at estate sales, like the grips on the ends of the thread posts.

Drawbore Pin 01

 

Drawbore Pin 02

I went back to the bandsaw and tapered the blanks to 7/8” on one end and cleaned up the faces with a block plane.

Drawbore Pin 03

I ran a groove into the middle of a piece of pine to hold the blank steady and planed the chamfers with the block plane. I later remembered I have the chamfer attachment for my Veritas block plane (*sigh*), so I will use that for the larger drawbore pins to make the chamfers more consistent. But I was quite pleased with how well I did free-handing them.

Drawbore Pin 04

I sanded the endgrain where the hole was bored so I didn’t have to worry about that after the pin was in place, then I clamped the pin in a metal vice and heated it up with a torch.

Drawbore Pin 05

I drove the block on with a mallet. It sank onto the pin like butta.

Drawbore Pin 06

I sat on the back patio and sanded the handle a bit to even everything out…

Drawbore Pin 07

…and ended with a few coats of General’s satin finish Armor Seal.

Drawbore Pin 08

You should have them in pairs, though, so I have one more small drawbore pin to go.

Drawbore Pin 09

 

Once I figure out what to do about the holes for the larger one, I’ll tackle them, as well.  Stay tuned.

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